LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Marine Corps bootcamp has a reputation as the most physically and mentally difficult training America’s uniformed services has to offer. If a recruit can make it through the grueling 12-weeks, he or she will be presented with the eagle, globe and anchor, symbolizing that they have earned the title of United States Marine.
On Jan 6-9, the Marine Corps Recruiting Depot at Parris Island, South Carolina, opened its doors to three dozen high school educators from Kentucky and Cincinnati, Ohio, to provide them with information about what it takes to become a Marine and how they can further provide guidance to students who may be thinking about a career in the Marines.
“(This program) allows them to go back to their schools and explain to their students what the Marine Corps is really all about,” said Staff Sgt. Christopher Jamison, staff non-commissioned officer at Marine Corps Recruiting Sub-Station Paducah, Kentucky. “They are able to educate their students on future opportunities and help them make better career decisions based on what they have seen and learned here.”
The Educator Workshop program at Parris Island is hosted every year by the Commanding General of the Marine Corps’ Eastern Recruiting Region. Each day simulates aspects of recruit training and allows educators to see firsthand how Marines are physical trained, mentally challenged and morally mentored to become a part of America’s 911 force in readiness.
“I wasn’t very familiar with Marine life before the workshop so I really didn’t know what to think,” said Katie Nuss, teacher at Fern Creek High School in Louisville, Kentucky. “I didn’t know what to expect. I was just looking forward to the experience.”
The workshop began with an early morning bus ride to the recruit depot. As soon as the educators arrived, a Marine Corps drill instructor stormed onto the bus and directed them to line up on the infamous yellow footprints. The drill instructor then gave the same speech every recruit receives when they arrive to the island:
“You are now on Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina. You have taken the first step to becoming a member of the world’s finest fighting force: the United States Marine Corps. The Marine Corps’ success depends upon team work. Therefore, teamwork will be essential for your training here at Parris Island. You will live, eat, sleep and train as a team. The words ’I, me or my’ will no longer be a part of your vocabulary …”
During the first day of the workshop, educators received in-depth classes on the programs and opportunities the Marine Corps has to offer, as well as, opportunities to have lunch with recruits from their respective school districts.
Educators were also afforded the opportunity to shoot an M16A4 service rifle, battle each other at pugil sticks, test their strength on the depot’s confidence course, rappel down a 47-foot wall and apply critical thinking skills during a leadership reaction course.
“My favorite part of the workshop was getting to know members of the United States Marine Corps because I just did not know what it was about,” Nuss said. “I felt like I was a part of something really cool, and even though the rappel tower was really scary, having all these Marines and educators cheer me on made me really feel like I could do it.”
On the last day of the workshop, the educators witnessed the graduation ceremony for recruits who had proved themselves worthy to be Marines.
“I really liked the idea of the drill instructors sort of starting as task masters and – toward the end – turning into mentors,” Nuss said. “I’m really glad we got to experience that. By the third day, if I had a question, my drill instructor was the first person I looked for.”
Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, opens its doors every year to educators who would like to see how Marines are trained and instilled with the values of honor, courage and commitment. For information about how to apply for a spot on the next workshop, please contact your local Marine Corps recruiter.